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 Five Educators Honored as 2016 San Diego County Teachers of the Year

​​​​​​Five local educators were named San Diego County Teachers of the Year during the 25th annual "Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers"​ brought to you by San Diego County Credit Union in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education. The annual event honored San Diego County's public school teachers and was televised live on Channel 4 San Diego from the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego.

The 2015-16 San Diego County Teachers of the Year are:

  • Doug Green, Carlsbad High School (Carlsbad Unified School District)
  • Armando Leon, Mar Vista Academy (Sweetwater Union High School District)
  • Paul Messerle, Rancho Bernardo High (Poway Unified School District)
  • Shirley Parrish Miranda, Morse High School (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Janet Ratkovic Feilen, Sevick School (Cajon Valley Union School District)

There were a total of 44 teachers nominated for 2015-16 County Teacher of the Year honors out of approximately 26,000 current teachers in the region. Finalists were selected based on student achievement, teaching philosophy, familiarity with current issues in education, and community involvement.

The five teachers of the year will represent San Diego County in the California Teacher of the Year program. The state winner will be announced later this year.

Since 1974, there have been 156 teachers named San Diego County Teacher of the Year. Of those teachers, 18 were named California Teacher of the Year and three went on to be named National Teacher of the Year. This is the 25th year the teacher of the year awards have been televised on Channel 4 San Diego.

Doug Green teaches broadcast journalism to students at Valley Middle School and Carlsbad High School in the Carlsbad Unified School District. Splitting his day between the two campuses, Green literally watches students grow up, teaching them from 7th through 12th grade. Under his leadership, both schools have consistently ranked at and among the top broadcasting programs in the nation.

Armando Leon teaches U.S. history and AVID to 8th-grade students at Mar Vista Academy in the Sweetwater Union High School District. His principal calls him "masterful in making connections with students in a way that gets them excited about learning United States history" and notes that "his enthusiasm and genuine care for students contribute to the exceptional learning environment he creates for students."

Paul Messerle teaches Advanced Placement (AP) art history, 3D computer animation, and computer graphic design to high school students at Rancho Bernardo High in the Poway Unified School District. Known to students and teachers alike as "Mez," Messerle helps students see themselves in art and make art a part of themselves. No student is turned away from his classes, whether AP, college prep, or special education.

Shirley Parrish Miranda teaches math and computer science to 10th- through 12th-grade students at Morse High School in the San Diego Unified School District. Parrish Miranda, who left a job as an engineer to become a teacher, is living proof that students' passion should be their driving force and motivation to success. She is a role model to students at Morse High, where 97 percent of the student population are children of color and 77 percent are low-income.

Janet Ratkovic Feilen serves students with special needs from birth through 3 years of age at Sevick School in the Cajon Valley Union School District. She discovered a passion for serving students with disabilities in college and has spent the last 35 years bringing out the best in her young students by providing them with the tools they need to interact with one another, engage in appropriate play, and demonstrate their emerging language skills.

​Rounding out the top 10 Teachers of the Year finalists were Mary Lou Baranowski-Drews, Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School (San Diego Unified School District); Jeffra Becknell, Monarch School (San Diego County Office of Education Juvenile Court and Community Schools); Dena Glynn, Tierra Bonita Elementary School (Poway Unified School District); Renee Sherry-Farrell, Del Lago Academy (Escondido Union High School District); and David Tupper, Tierra del Sol Middle School (Lakeside Union School District).


"Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers" telecast will replay on Channel 4 San Diego on:

  • Oct. 10 at 10:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 at 8 p.m.
  • Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 23 at 8 p.m.

The telecast will also replay on ITV Channel 16 on:

  • Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 24 at 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.
  • Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. 

It will also air on KUSI Channel 9 on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m.

Sponsors of "Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers" included presenting sponsor San Diego County Credit Union; San Diego County Office of Education; Sea World; Nothing Bundt Cakes; Qualcomm; Procopio; CBRE; Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation; USS Midway; SDG&E; iHeartMedia, KUSI, San Diego Union-Tribune; INSP Network; Entravision, Valley View Casino Center, Jersey Mike's, Sunshine Communications, Cygnet Theater, Rubio's, A&E Networks, I Love a Clean San Diego, and Junior Achievement.